Becoming successful as an aspiring web designer requires more than having tangible design skills and the right equipment. However, there are other important things that any aspiring web designer should keep in mind.
Here, we will discuss 6 tips to become an aspiring web designer, and by practicing these, you can build your success in the web design field to drive more sales.
1) Have The Right Mindset: A Web Designer, not a Graphic Designer
It is a very common mistake to think that a graphic designer is also a web designer or the other way around. While there are indeed some similarities between the two fields, the reality is that web design is a completely separate field from graphic design. The objective of a graphic design project can be very different from that of a website, and they are typically two very different mediums.
So, there is no guarantee that even the best graphic designer can transition automatically into a web designer and vice versa. To be a successful web designer, you’d need to fully commit to the field and learn the required industry-specific skillset.
2) Have The Required Skills
Above, we have discussed that the field of web design would require pretty specific skill sets. So, what are they?
- Basic math: web design involves putting your elements in many different sizes and 3D dimensions, so a web designer must know basic mathematics and measurements
- Creativity: creating something unique and engaging
- Detail: a website typically includes many smaller elements that must function properly as a unit, so attention to detail is very important
- Team player: it’s rare for a web designer to work alone, and a teamwork ability is a must-have
- Organization and consistency: design elements must always be cohesive throughout the whole site, and also on various browsers.
- Ability to receive direction: even when working as a freelancer, a web designer must be able to receive feedback from clients and teammates, among others. These feedbacks might not always be positive, and the web designer must have the ability to respond properly.
- Learning: web design is a highly evolving field with changing friends and technologies. An effective designer should stay up-to-date with all these changes and keep updating their knowledge/skillsets.
3) Know The Different Aspects of Web Design
Web design is actually a holistic field that involves several different aspects, including but not limited to:
- Graphic design: above, we have discussed that graphic design and web design are two separate fields. However, web designers are often required to perform graphic design processes like image editing (from simple cropping to advanced image manipulation) or arranging website layouts.
- Wireframing or Prototyping: an important aspect of web design so the web designer wouldn’t need to wait for the finalized web design before they can test the functionality of the website. There are now various tools available for prototyping, and a lot of them are very easy to use, so prototyping skills nowadays are pretty accessible.
- Coding/programming: the main difference between a web designer and a graphic designer is that a web designer is required to code, at least basic HTML and CSS coding.
- CMS knowledge: web designers are also required to be able to operate and manage CMS software that is required to create and manage digital web content. WordPress is a CMS system, as well as other options like Joomla or visual-based CMS like Wix or Weebly.
Again, a successful web designer should possess a well-rounded skills across these aspects, and must also stay up-to-date with the technological changes and new trends.
4) Develop Your Communication Skills
Having good communication skills can significantly help in any field, but as a web designer, arguably this is even more important. Even if you work alone as a web designer, you’d need to have effective communication with clients and third-party vendors (i.e. programmers).
To be successful as an aspiring web designer, you need to present yourself well and communicate the value in your website design (and your skills as a designer). You will need to be clear about your design choices and you’d need to speak and sound intelligent to impress your clients.
Good communication skills can also help you in avoiding disputes and resolving potential issues. More often than not, good communication skill is the one thing standing between a mediocre web designer and a great one.
5) Research and Planning Skills
Designing a website can involve a lot of small elements and details, and so it is very important to research and plan ahead before you delve into any web designing work. A typical research process of a web design process should be like this:
- Research your client or the company you are working for. Study their brand identity, previous designs (if any), and other details
- Ask the clients about their objectives, expectations, and other key questions
- Competitive research, and researching what your competitors are working on in websites of similar niche
- Optimizing a website for SEO so it ranks higher in search results.
You can either start with a rough sketch of your website (or some designers can do it in their mind), and you can also use various website prototyping tools to start a project.
While planning can be a tedious and daunting process, proper planning can save you a lot of money and time with each project.
6) Be Original and Unique
Yes, you might start your web designing career by mimicking other pros, but if you want to be successful as an aspiring designer, you will need to have a unique and original aesthetic.
Remember that today there are a lot of web designers to compete with, in this saturated market. So, your clients will only hire you when they recognize and appreciate your distinct style, and they expect to get this same style when you work in their projects. So, if you are only mimicking other designers, not only you might disappoint your clients, but you might also make the design process much more difficult than it should be (since you are continuously impersonating another person’s style).
However, this shouldn’t mean your style should be static. You should still learn from other people’s styles and follow the latest trends, but you should use your own original style as the foundation.
Web design is much more than creating a pretty and functional website, but it is an art of integrating all the different elements so they work well together: how certain fonts work with a logo, why certain colors work well, and so on.
To stand out as an aspiring web designer, you will need to have your own unique design identity, as well as a commitment to learning new skills and trends to improve yourself as a designer.
Bio: Mike Khorev is an SEO consultant who helps SaaS, software, IT, technology, B2B and startup companies generate more sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine marketing and many other online practices.